There’s no shortage of movies about addiction, from 1988’s “Clean and Sober” to 2018’s “Beautiful Boy.” These films seek to entertain, inspire, and even educate. But are the lessons accurate? Can we trust the wisdom they impart?
Let’s take a look at three popular movies about addiction and rehab to separate fact from fiction.
“28 Days” (2000)
Synopsis: Sandra Bullock stars as Gwen, an alcoholic who gets sent to rehab after ruining her sister’s wedding.
Affirmations for addiction recovery: This film showcases traditional affirmations like “It works if you work it” and “One day at a time” as tools for addiction recovery. While these statements may seem simple, they can have incredible real-life value as you seek to develop a positive mindset in recovery.
Chores in rehab: In this movie, the treatment facility requires guests to carry their own bags, make their own beds, and scrub toilets as part of their rehabilitation. In a luxury rehab, however, housekeepers and other staff members take care of the details so you can focus on healing.
Outdoor activities in rehab: Equine therapy is transformational for Gwen, who learns to ask for help rather than trying to control the outcome herself. A ropes course also reveals the value of teamwork. In real life, outdoor activities are truly a key feature of luxury rehab, offering a holistic approach to recovery.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” (1994)
Synopsis: When her addiction threatens the safety of her children, Alice (played by Meg Ryan) checks herself into rehab with the support of her husband, Michael (played by Andy Garcia).
Detox: This movie doesn’t sugarcoat detox, but it does show the support of a doctor who stays by Alice’s side during the pains of withdrawal. The same is true in real-life rehab—you will not be left to endure detox alone. Instead, you will have access to 24/7 medical care and support.
Peer support in rehab: Alice develops a friendship with another addict, Gary (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman), and they encourage each other in rehab and afterward. That’s a reality for many clients off-screen as well. Peer relationships can be a lifeline in recovery, helping you persevere through the challenges of staying clean.
Life after rehab: Alice has a hard time readjusting to married life after rehab. Michael tries to fix her problems instead of just listening, and Alice blames him for making her feel small and weak. It’s a raw, honest depiction of the relational challenges many newly sober couples experience. Not all relationships will survive rehab—but hopefully, the good ones will.
“Rachel Getting Married”(2008)
Synopsis: Anne Hathaway stars as Kym, a drug addict who leaves rehab for a few days to attend her sister’s wedding.
Leaving rehab: In the movie, Kym leaves rehab for the weekend, but in real life, many in-patient treatment programs do not offer day or weekend passes. That’s because it’s typically wise to stay in a safe space and focus on your recovery, free from outside influences and responsibilities.
Attending meetings: Though Kym is away from rehab for the weekend, she still goes to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in an effort to stay grounded. It’s a smart, healthy choice, underscoring the reality that support group meetings can be a key ingredient to a successful recovery.
Living with trauma: Kym is weighed down by guilt from terrible things she did when she was high, which is a common experience for many individuals caught in addiction. And while significant trauma is not a prerequisite for seeking treatment, dual diagnosis rehab is focused on addressing underlying issues that can make addiction difficult to overcome.
When it comes to rehab, Hollywood has some valuable insight to offer. And while you can’t believe everything you see on the silver screen, there are plenty of nuggets of truth to be mined from movies about rehab and addiction.
Need to separate fact from fiction about addiction and rehab? Contact Beachside Rehab’s trained admissions counselors at (866) 349-1770 to find out exactly what you can expect from a stay at our luxury rehab center.